The Question and Answer call yesterday with Morgan Stanley heavily focussed on Disney's streaming business with Iger declaring he was bullish on the strength of Disney+ in delivering high quality content and optimistic to grow subscribers with different pricing strategies.
Iger said the focus was to be more disciplined with spending including on production costs and to continue to grow subsribers. He also talked about the further use of Marvel and Avengers characters in content creation as well as the continued success of Star Wars series such as The Mandalorian with further offerings in the pipeline.
At 27:41 in the webchat the focus changed to Disney Parks where consumer interest has been strong and is the area which has seen tremendous profits. Iger talked about how resilient the Parks business has been and how well it has bounced back after the pandemic, not only in the US but in Shanghai Disneyland and Disneyland Paris.
Iger addressed the issue of pricing by saying:
"I've always believed that Disney was a brand that needed to be accessible... and I think that in our zeal to grow profits, we may have been a little bit too aggressive about some of our pricing. I think that there's a way to continue to grow that business but be smarter about how we price, so that we maintain that brand value of accessibility. And we made certain steps... we took certain steps when I came back to do just that, and they resonated extremely well with consumers. And we're not only going to continue to listen to consumers, but we're going to continue to adjust."
With the focus being put on improving guest experience by reducing crowding this has led to increased pricing and options which have been implemented which some consumers have seen as too aggressive and has impacted the accessibility of the Disney Parks. Although some steps have already been taken to address this issue, including lower-priced tickets at Disneyland and the elimination of parking fees at Walt Disney World resort hotels, Iger is clearly looking to address this and adjust where necessary and possible which appears to be a very positive step forward.
There was no specific mention of the Parks Reservation System which is expected to remain in order to continue to manage capacity to deliver that improved guest experience for guests while in the parks.
Disney has the option of adding more attractions and Iger said that there are more opportunities in California than people are aware of. During a recent earnings call it was announced that a new Avatar experience would be coming to Disneyland. Avatar has proved hugely popular in Orlando so it makes total sense to being it to California.
Iger summarised by saying that the reorganisation was necessary due to the disconnect between spending, revenue generation and marketing and it was essential to get to grips with cost structure. When asked about his priorities, Iger said that it is imperative going forward to get the content pipeline right and he is confident of finding the right successor at the right time meaning Iger will leave with a trajectory which is optimistic and positive for the future of the Walt Disney Company.
It was announced earlier this week that Bruce Vaughn is returning to Walt Disney Imagineering as Chief Creative Officer effective March 20, having left the company in 2016. Vaughn will co-lead the organization along with WDI President Barbara Bouza.
In an email to imagineers, Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, Josh D'Amaro said, "With significant developments under way and more on the horizon, this dedicated focus toward creativity and innovation will help us deliver next-level experiences well into the future." He continued by saying, "...To best accomplish this, they [Vaughn and Bouza] will be working together to swiftly identify the most effective way to structure Imagineering."
To hear the complete webchat of this Q&A session, head to the Walt Disney Company website. Let us know your thoughts on this Q&A session and the reappointment of Bruce Vaughn by leaving us a comment below or on our Facebook page.
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